Anger, helplessness and confusion that we all face while handling certain situations, most of the time ends up making us annoyed as we are unable to communicate our feeling to the other end properly. We usually have no answer to this and things keep on going the same way. However the reality is totally different as where there is a will there is a way and hence there exist the answers to such situations. The need is to make some appropriate changes accordingly in your life. Changing oneself is no doubt a tough job but it’s not impossible and hence asks for developing a skill called assertiveness. Assertiveness in simple words is an alternative to personal powerlessness and manipulation. It asks for self-confidence as well as respect for others. The person who acts non-assertively usually responds after the opportunity has passed while the aggressive response usually results in generating negative impression that leads to regret later on. Assertiveness not only helps in handling issues amicably but it also helps in addressing the physical issues resulting from that like anxiety, depression, fatigues, headaches and many more.
According to Robert Alberti and Michael Emmons:
“Assertive behaviour promotes equality in human relationships, enabling us to act in our own best interest, to stand up for ourselves without undue anxiety, to express honest feelings comfortably, to exercise personal rights without denying the right of others.”
Following is the step by step process in order to increase assertiveness:
Observe Your Own Behaviour:
The first and the foremost important step in order to become assertive is to check yourself about how assertive you are. This could be done by observing your interpersonal relationships and by getting to know how you feel about your own being and about your own behaviour.
Follow Your Assertiveness Progress:
Keep an eye on how well are you dealing with situations as well as your ownself. Check how this brings changes in your life. To begin with keep a record for a week about how you actually act, such that on every day basis mark the situation where you acted assertively, situation where you were aggressive and the one’s you avoided. This exercise needs to be done honestly otherwise it won’t work.
Lay Down Realistic Goals for Yourself:
Self – assessment will help you set goals towards certain situations and the people you found difficult to handle. Point to note here is to start with low risk situations in order to increase your success chances.
Imagine Handling A Particular Situation:
Imagine yourself handling a particular situation with deep down details including your feeling before as well as after the situation.
This step focuses on your behaviors and thoughts that lead to your non-assertive/aggressive behaviour. Mention your weaknesses as well as strengths. Not to forget here about you non-verbal components including your body posture, eye contact, message content, voice, tone etc.
Observation learning is one of the highly recommended methods in order to learn assertiveness specifically at this stage. Observe how other’s handles situation assertively that seem difficult to you.
Check for Alternative Responses:
Look for the alternative responses that could possibly be applied in order to handle situation. Ask yourself questions like could I deal a particular situation more directly or probably less offensively?
Replace Negative Thoughts With Positive Ones:
Practice positive thoughts and this could be done by making a list of positive statement that you can read to yourself several times on daily basis.
Ask For Help, If Required:
Becoming assertive is not an easy task and may require taking help from others. If you are being through such feeling never hesitate to ask for help.
Try It Out:
As you have observed your own behaviour, have alternatives in mind, observed others, and have become more positive in nature, now it’s time to practice what you have learned.
Review your responses at this stage. View your strengths as well as highlight your weaknesses and work on improving those areas.
Sharpen The Saw:
Keep on improving yourself and continue your training. Assertiveness has no limit.
In a nutshell,
“Assertiveness is the courage to be ourselves and show the world our likes and dislikes, our thoughts, feelings, and shortcomings. It’s about communicating honestly with family, friends and colleagues. As we become more assertive, we drop the mask and show our true selves. We proclaim: This is who I am, this is what I feel, and these are my needs – Anonymous”